Geocaching is an outdoor pastime for adventure-seekers of all ages. There are over a million geocaches across the globe. All you need is a GPS with the right features. GPS City has made up a list of the most popular geocaching features and suggested units.
Paperless Geocaching - This is a feature found
in some of the newest lines from Garmin. It allows you to view more information related to
a geocache such as
descriptions and hints saved directly in the file. Previously cachers had to print out or handwrite
the hints on paper. Another reason we all love paperless caching is that it minimizes our impact on Mother Earth.
Map Compatible - Mapping makes navigating to a geocache with your GPS just a little bit easier. There are many types of maps available for compatible GPS devices, such as street, backroad and topographic maps. Topographic maps are popular amongst geocachers because they provide a lot of useful detail for cache-hunting in the great outdoors. Topographic maps also have a non-routing street component which shows the network of major, secondary and backroad details. The routing feature is not necessary for geocaching purposes. When choosing a mapping handheld for geocaching be sure to check the types of maps and features offered by the manufacturer.
High-Sensitivity Antenna - The GPSMAP 62, GPSMAP 78 and Etrex
10/20/30 models have high-sensitivity antennas. These antennas are used
to obtain better reception in areas of poor sky visibility, such as
heavy tree coverage or tall buildings. The Oregon, Dakota and Montana
series use the basic patch antennas, which are best used in areas of
moderate to great sky visibility.
Electronic 3-Axis Compass - GPS units without a digital
compass can give you a bearing but you first must move a few feet in a
straight line to determine your heading. A cacher can use the digital
compass to point to the geocache without moving in any direction to
determine where you are heading. The only draw back is reduced battery life
compared to a model without a digital compass.
Waterproof - A waterproof GPS is key when
geocaching. Geocaching is a enjoyable hobby and you will find yourself
outdoors a lot more in all types of weather. All of Garmin's handheld
models are rated IPX7 waterproof, submergible for 30 minutes under 1m
(3ft) of water.
Computer interface and compatibility is important. While the option to manually key in your Geocache coordinates is always available, it's quicker to download lists and pocket queries directly from the geocaching website. Most handheld units come USB ready which is
supported by both PC and MAC computers. Using USB is the fast and easy way to
communicate with a GPS, those using older GPS units may have a serial interface that is not compatible with current computers.
User Interface- An easy to use interface will make
your geocaching adventure more enjoyable. Toggle, touch-screen or buttons are the options for controlling the various unit features like panning the map and logging a cache as 'found'. Touch screen units are great for viewing maps on a GPS
and they often have simplified menus.